New Delhi: The two rival alliances in Bihar battling for electoral laurel are hoping for a repeat of their past performances in Seemanchal and Mithilanchal, two regions going to poll in the last phase of assembly elections on November 5.
While 'Modi wave' did not amount to much in Seemanchal where BJP lost all four Lok Sabha seats in 2014, the region with big Muslim concentration has traditionally seen a strong saffron presence and the party had done well there in the 2010 Assembly polls.
The grand alliance of JD(U), RJD and Congress expects to corner an overwhelming majority of Muslim votes besides a big chunk of backward caste electorate to leave the NDA behind, while the saffron alliance believes that it can turn the tables by consolidating its voters across all castes.
In a recent interaction with the media, a top BJP leader had predicted "a most thrilling fight in the history of Indian electoral politics" in Seemanchal, adding that political pundits should come down to the region to witness it.
The grand alliance leaders have accused BJP of trying to polarise voters on communal lines after Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleged an attempt was being made by them to give away 5 per cent from the share of reservations meant for Scheduled Castes, Schedule Tribes and OBCs to a "particular community". BJP chief Amit Shah's comment that firecrackers will be burst in celebration in Pakistan if his party lost in Bihar have also drawn similar accusations.
BJP has refuted the charge and accused them of practising "politics of appeasement".
While BJP expects to make a dent in the grand alliance's backward caste votebank by harping on the possibility of a chunk of quotas going away to Muslims and a consolidation of Hindu votes over alleged soft treatment to terror suspects, the JD(U)-RJD-Congress combine sees no such possibilities.
"BJP will try to communalise polls but we will ensure that it does not happen. We will sweep the last phase," Bihar JD(U) chief Bashishtha Narain Singh said.
In Mithilanchal, BJP believes that the Pappu Yadav factor may work to its advantage. The expelled RJD MP has put up candidates of his Jan Adhikar Party in several places.
Yadav is a sitting MP from Madhepura and his wife Ranjeet Ranjan represents neighbouring Supaul in the Lok Sabha. Assembly seats under the two constituencies are going to polls in the fifth phase.
57 seats will go to polls in the fifth phase on November 5.